Edmonton restaurants come up big for charity: Weekly Dish originally published in Edmonton Sun, Oct. 30, 2013

Just how much is food and dining out a part of our lives? Consider: Of the 240 packages in The Edmonton Sun/ATCO Christmas Charity Auction, running until 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at least a third of them involve food.

Here’s the Weekly Dish’s food guide to hundreds of Edmonton restaurants who have donated to the Charity Auction. The number in brackets refers to the auction package number in the auction listings in today’s Sun print edition or at www.christmascharityauction.ca.

Steaks: Three of the city’s finest steakhouses – LUX (10), Ruth’s Chris (12) and Von’s (15) – are in the first 15 packages. LUX executive chef and Sun columnist Paul Shufelt is giving his guests cooking lessons, Ruth’s Chris is famous for its corn-fed steaks, Von’s kitchen is now supervised by extraordinarily creative chef Shane Chartrand. Don’t forget the Outback Steakhouse (107), hosting dinner with CHED’s Dan Tencer & Andrew Grose.

Fine dining: These are the “casually elegant” or gourmet restaurants that have (or would likely earn) a 4 out of 5 Suns rating in this column. The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (25), the new downtown Cactus Club (36), Characters (37), Glasshouse Bistro in St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre (40), Hardware Grill (41), La Ronde in the Chateau Lacombe (65), The Homefire Grill (67, 105), Madison’s Grill in the Union Bank Inn (72), Blackhawk Country Club (98), Guru (104, 235, 236), Piccolino (108), King & I (110), Zinc (111), Koutouki (114, 212) Café Amore (210), Massimo’s (211), Melting Pot (218), Sage at River Cree (239) and Vicky’s Bistro in Sherwood Park (240).

Click here to see the great auction items.

Pizzas, burgers and pub grub: This auction has the best: MKT (28), Mercer (68), Delux Burger Bar (102), Famoso (103), Canadian Brewhouse (207), Danny Hacksaw’s Pub Party (209), Hudson’s Canadian Tap House (222), The Bothy (223) and The Rock Wood-Fired Pizza (225).

Beer, wine and spirits: Alley Kate Brewing’s “Beer for a Year” (216), a wine basket from Sherbrooke Liquor (220) and six California wines from Bin 104 (226).

Breakfasts and brunches come usually with hotel stays. Try out Creations at the Sawridge Edmonton (66), Sutton Place (68), Kitchen Bistro at the Marriott River Cree (73), Radisson Edmonton South (69), Metterra Hotel (70), Cocoa’s at the Delta Edmonton Centre (71) Madison’s Grill in the Union Bank Inn (72). The Sawmill is catering breakfast at Global TV (112). The new Tutti Fruitti Breakfast & Lunch (92, 141) is donating to two packages and the Royal Glenora Club (206) is offering brunch.

Ethnic: On the ethnic side are donations from the Golden Rice Bowl (38, 208), Bak Hauk Oriental Delight in Sherwood Park (96), Kosmos Greek Restaurant in Leduc (113), Japanese Village (106), Barb & Ernie’s for 20 people (202) and the famous Uncle Ed’s for the authentic Ukrainian experience (204).

Then there’s the Jubilations Dinner Theatre (196), Café O’Play for the kids in Sherwood Park (143), Edible Arrangements new take on fruit baskets (177), Lemon Daily Cupcakes (180), the Aqua Bistro in the Courtyard Edmonton West (189) and Red Robin in Sherwood Park (205).

Home cooking: Nothing’s more fun than having a great chef arrive at your doorstep. Bruce Wells, executive chef of the Homefire Grill will cook a five-course dinner on an All-Alberta theme (105) at your home. I am helping out as server and wine steward. Gail Hall of Seasoned Solutions has a cooking class/dinner for seven (217) which is the stuff of legends. Wild boar hunters (21), Bill Ewanciw of Smoky Lake prepares your dinner the night before. Chef Sheridan McLaren entertains a party of eight at your home (224). The Emerald Hills Starbucks in Sherwood Park offers a coffee tasting seminar (188). Restaurant touring company Dishcrawl has a $100 gift certificate (221).

Buffet: On the buffet side (let your guests choose their own dinner) is Buffet Royale for four (203), Christmas at the Sawmill Banquet Hall for 10 (219) and Danny Hooper’s Classic Country Christmas for four at Fort Edmonton Park (192).

Moxie’s Classic Grill (23) goes way further than a simple dinner. They fly a party of four to the Okanagan, stay at Manteo Resort, provide car rental … AND dinner at Moxie’s in Kelowna!

All these restaurants are donating for the betterment of the community. Even if you are unsuccessful in your bidding, please patronize these caring establishments.